After a large supermarket chain launched a large marketing campaign in several French towns, the CNIL issued an opinion about the emerging marketing practice of sending ads to cell phone holders using geo-tracking technology that detects phones' locations using activated Bluetooth functionality. Cell phones' "MAC" address and Bluetooth identifiers are deemed to be personal data. As a consequence, phone holders must provide prior consent before direct marketing materials may be sent to their cell phones.
The CNIL assessed methods for collecting individuals' consent. Sending messages to all phone holders entering into a Bluetooth coverage zone in order to request consent was deemed inappropriate. The CNIL favors a solution whereby only individuals interested in the advertising would receive the messages. Users could express such interest by bringing their phones close to an advertising panel in order to receive the ad

Pascale Gelly is a partner at Cabinet Gelly. She can be reached at pg@pascalegelly.com.


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